BROOKSVILLE – Hernando County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to grant economic incentives for a new manufacturer to locate at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center.
Massachusetts-based Baker Parts, which makes industrial and commercial bakery equipment, plans to open a 24,000-square-foot facility at 16020 Aviation Loop Drive. The company plans to hire 30 full-time workers during the next three years, and the average annual wage is about $35,000, which qualifies it for the local Job Creation Incentives Program.
The total cost of the incentive package is $90,000, to be paid out during a five-year period. To be eligible for the incentives, the company would have to document the new jobs and the salaries.
Barring any obstacles, Baker Parts could start the expansion process as early as next month.
??County commissioners threw their support behind a program that could lead to vocational training for higher-paying jobs in Hernando County.
Bryan Kamm, Florida chapter assistant director of the German American Chambers of Commerce, outlined a program modeled after one in Germany that brings together Tampa Bay manufacturers and industries, counties, economic development organizations and educational systems.
The goal is to form an apprenticeship program to fill vacancies in manufacturing positions and other careers.
Kamm said students and workers would be trained through Industry-driven Innovation Training Centers for three years.
The state would put out seed money for these centers, with participating counties contributing money – possibly $200,000 – to keep the program self-sustaining.
Kamm said Pasco County is already committed to the program.
??Circuit Court Clerk Don Barbee presented highlights of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending last Sept. 30. The report gives an economic and demographic overview of the county.
The CAFR shows Hernando County’s assets exceeded liabilities by $607 million. Of that, $53.1 million is unrestricted and available for the county to use at year’s end to meet its ongoing obligations to creditors and the public.
Hernando County’s population is about 173,800, an increase of almost 23 percent from 10 years ago, the report states. The county’s population is projected to be almost 182,400 in 2015 and more than 218,000 in 2025.
??Board members honored former public safety director Michael Rampino, recognizing his 26 years service with the county. Rampino resigned earlier this month and took a fire chief’s position in Manatee County.
The search is on for a new public safety director.
??Assistant County Administrator Russ Wetherington unveiled the new “Pat on the Back Employee Recognition Program,” scheduled to kick off Tuesday.
Wetherington said the program will recognize and reward employees for superior job performance, customer service and teamwork. Employees, he said, should view it as an incentive to “strive for excellence.”
The suggested employee recognition areas include: customer service, teamwork, integrity, leadership, positive attitude, creativity and going above and beyond.